Asian stocks drop on no trade deal in Obama visit

The Associated Press
Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed as stocks in Tokyo slipped Thursday after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Barack Obama produced little on a trade agreement.

Progress on the trans-Pacific pact would be a plus for Japan's giant exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. Adding to the mixed view was the fall on Wall Street overnight despite a solid earnings report from Apple Inc. that sent that issue higher.

The Nikkei, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, lost 1 percent to close at 14,404.99. South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.1 percent to close at 1,998.34.

The Hang Seng index was higher by 0.2 percent to 22,548.85, and share prices were also higher in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Asia is abuzz this week with Obama's arrival late Wednesday in Tokyo for the first state visit by an American president to Japan in nearly 20 years. He will later go to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

But Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had little to say on a wide-reaching trans-Pacific trade agreement in a joint news conference, and focused more on reassuring bilateral security ties.

Market players are also cautious ahead of a slew of earnings reports expected in coming weeks from Japanese companies.

Sentiment on Asian markets were dampened by worries about the U.S. economy, highlighted by a surprise drop in new home sales as well as dismal earnings.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,875.39. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,501.65 and the Nasdaq composite fell 34.49 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,126.97.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 0.1 percent at 6,674.74 while Germany's DAX fell 0.6 percent to 9,544.19. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.7 percent lower at 4,451.08.

The dollar was lower at 102.30 yen from 102.51 yen late the previous day. The euro was higher at $1.3822 from $1.3716.

A barrel of benchmark New York crude was up 31 cents at $101.75.